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List Of Contents | Contents of Mary Stuart, by Alexandre Dumas, Pere
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on my account."

"We have no instructions on that head, madam," the Earl of Kent said,
"but we think that an order will be given for this as for the other
things, in accordance with your wishes.  Is this all that your Grace
has to say to us?"

"Yes, my lord," replied the queen, bowing a second time, "and now you
may withdraw."

"One moment, my lords, in Heaven's name, one moment!" cried the old
physician, coming forward and throwing himself on his knees before
the two earls.

"What do you want?" asked Lord Shrewsbury.

"To point out to you, my lords," replied the aged Bourgoin, weeping,
"that you have granted the queen but a very short time for such an
important matter as this of her life.  Reflect, my lords, what rank
and degree she whom you have condemned has held among the princes of
this earth, and consider if it is well and seemly to treat her as an
ordinary condemned person of middling estate.  And if not for the
sake of this noble queen, my lords, do this for the sake of us her
poor servants, who, having had the honour of living near her so long,
cannot thus part from her so quickly and without preparation.
Besides, my lords, think of it, a woman of her state and position
ought to have some time in which to set in order her last affairs.
And what will become of her, and of us, if before dying, our mistress
has not time to regulate her jointure and her accounts and to put in
order her papers and her title-deeds?  She has services to reward and
offices of piety to perform.  She should not neglect the one or the
other.  Besides, we know that she will only concern herself with us,
and, through this, my lords, neglect her own salvation.  Grant her,
then, a few more days, my lords; and as our mistress is too proud to
ask of you such a favour, I ask you in all our names, and implore you
not to refuse to poor servants a request which your august queen
would certainly not refuse them, if they had the good fortune to be
able to lay it at her feet."

"Is it then true, madam," Sir Robert Beale asked, "that you have not
yet made a will?"

"I have not, sir," the queen answered.

"In that case, my lords," said Sir Robert Beale, turning to the two
earls, "perhaps it would be a good thing to put it off for a day or
two."

"Impossible, sir," replied the Earl of Shrewsbury: "the time is
fixed, and we cannot change anything, even by a minute, now."

"Enough, Bourgoin, enough," said the queen; "rise, I command you."

Bourgoin obeyed, and the Earl of Shrewsbury, turning to Sir Amyas
Paulet, who was behind him--

"Sir Amyas," said he, "we entrust this lady to your keeping: you will
charge yourself with her, and keep her safe till our return."

With these words he went out, followed by the Earl of Kent, Sir
Robert Beale, Amyas Paulet, and Drury, and the queen remained alone
with her servants.

Then, turning to her women with as serene a countenance as if the
event which had just taken place was of little importance

"Well, Jeanne," said she, speaking to Kennedy, "have I not always
told you, and was I not right, that at the bottom of their hearts
they wanted to do this? and did I not see clearly through all their
procedure the end they had in view, and know well enough that I was
too great an obstacle to their false religion to be allowed to live?
Come," continued she, "hasten supper now, that I may put my affairs
in order".  Then, seeing that instead of obeying her, her servants
were weeping and lamenting, "My children," said she, with a sad
smile, but without a tear in her eye, "it is no time for weeping,
quite the contrary; for if you love me, you ought to rejoice that the
Lord, in making me die for His cause, relieves me from the torments I
have endured for nineteen years.  As for me, I thank Him for allowing
me to die for the glory of His faith and His Church.  Let each have
patience, then, and while the men prepare supper, we women will pray
to God."

The men immediately went out, weeping and sobbing, and the queen and
her women fell on their knees.  When they had recited some prayers,
Mary rose, and sending for all the money she had left, she counted it
and divided it into portions, which she put into purses with the name
of the destined recipient, in her handwriting, with the money.

At that moment, supper being served, she seated herself at table with
her women as usual, the other servants standing or coming and going,
her doctor waiting on her at table as he was accustomed since her
steward had been taken from her.  She ate no more nor less than
usual, speaking, throughout supper, of the Earl of Kent, and of the
way in which he betrayed himself with respect to religion, by his
insisting on wanting to give the queen a pastor instead of a priest.
"Happily," she added, laughing, "one more skilful than he was needed
to change me".  Meanwhile Bourgoin was weeping behind the queen, for
he was thinking that he was serving her for the last time, and that
she who was eating, talking, and laughing thus, next day at the same
hour would be but a cold and insensible corpse.

When the meal was over, the queen sent for all her servants; then;
before the table was cleared of anything, she poured out a cup of
wine, rose and drank to their health, asking them if they would not
drink to her salvation.  Then she had a glass given to each one: all
kneeled down, and all, says the account from which we borrow these
details, drank, mingling their tears with the wine, and asking pardon
of the queen for any wrongs they had done her.  The queen granted it
heartily, and asked them to do as much for her, and to forget her
impatient ways, which she begged them to put down to her
imprisonment.  Then, having given them a long discourse, in which she
explained to them their duties to God, and exhorted them to persevere
in the Catholic faith, she begged them, after her death, to live
together in peace and charity, forgetting all the petty quarrels and
disputes which they had had among one another in the past.

This speech ended, the queen rose from table, and desired to go into
her wardrobe-room, to see the clothes and jewels she wished to
dispose of; but Bourgoin observed that it would be better to have all
these separate objects brought into her chamber; that there would be
a double advantage in this, she would be less tired for one thing,
and the English would not see them for another.  This last reason
decided her, and while the servants were supping, she had brought
into her ante-room, first of all, all her robes, and took the
inventory from her wardrobe attendant, and began to write in the
margin beside each item the name of the person it was to be given to.
Directly, and as fast as she did it, that person to whom it was given
took it and put it aside.  As for the things which were too personal
to her to be thus bestowed, she ordered that they should be sold, and
that the purchase-money should be used for her servants' travelling
expenses, when they returned to their own countries, well knowing how
great the cost would be and that no one would have sufficient means.
This memorandum finished, she signed it, and gave it as a discharge
to her wardrobe attendant.

Then, that done, she went into her room, where had been brought her
rings, her jewels, and her most valuable belongings; inspected them
all, one after the other, down to the very least; and distributed
them as she had done her robes, so that, present or absent, everyone
had something.  Then she furthermore gave, to her most faithful
people, the jewels she intended for the king and queen of France, for
the king her son, for the queen-mother, for Messieurs de Guise and de
Lorraine, without forgetting in this distribution any prince or
princess among her relatives.  She desired, besides, that each should
keep the things then in his care, giving her linen to the young lady
who looked after it, her silk embroideries to her who took charge of
them, her silver plate to her butler, and so on with the rest.

Then, as they were asking her for a discharge, "It is useless," said
she; "you owe an account to me only, and to-morrow, therefore, you
will no longer owe it to anyone"; but, as they pointed out that the
king her son could claim from them, "You are right," said she; and
she gave them what they asked.

That done, and having no hope left of being visited by her confessor,
she wrote him this letter:

"I have been tormented all this day on account of my religion, and
urged to receive the consolations of a heretic: you will learn,
through Bourgoin and the others, that everything they could say on
this matter has been useless, that I have faithfully made
protestation of the faith in which I wish to die.  I requested that
you should be allowed to receive my confession and to give me the
sacrament, which has been cruelly refused, as well as the removal of
my body, and the power to make my will freely; so that I cannot write
anything except through their hands, and with the good pleasure of
their mistress.  For want of seeing you, then, I confess to you my
sins in general, as I should have done in particular, begging you, in
God's name, to watch and pray this night with me, for the remission
of my sins, and to send me your absolution and forgiveness for all
the wrongs I have done you.  I shall try to see you in their
presence, as they permitted it to my steward; and if it is allowed,
before all, and on my knees, I shall ask your blessing.  Send me the
best prayers you know for this night and for to-morrow morning; for
the time is short, and I have not the leisure to write; but be calm,
I shall recommend you like the rest of my servants, and your
benefices above all will be secured to you.  Farewell, for I have not
much more time.  Send to me in writing everything you can find, best
for my salvation, in prayers and exhortations, I send you my last
little ring."

Directly she had written this letter the queen began to make her
will, and at a stroke, with her pen running on and almost without
lifting it from the paper, she wrote two large sheets, containing
several paragraphs, in which no one was forgotten, present as absent,

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